Judging FLL Robot Design (part 1 - the overview)

The FIRST LEGO League Competition is divided in four categories. The Robot Design category is not as popular as the Robot Game, but still is 25% of the end result of a team. In this tutorial we will stop and make an overview of it.

  • #51
  • 18 Dec 2013
  • 6:03


Statistics designed by Scott Lewis from the Noun Project.


First Lego League has four categories: Robot game, Research project, Core values and Robot design. For the last eight years I have judged students in many kinds of technical competitions. And many FLL tournaments. Today I would like to stop at one of my favorite very important category - Robot design. The goal of this video is to help judges prepare better for judging Robot design. In one of the next videos we will look at how a team could prepare better for this interview.

The first thing I want to clarify in the need of the Robot design category. One might ask why do we need it after all we have the Robot game witch is very objective and the best robot simply receives the highest score. Robot design is NOT about performance. Robot design is more about presentation and consideration.

As in the real world decisions are not taken only on the basis of performance of the technology. But also on the ability of the team to demonstrate and present it's features and advantages. Robot design could also give you and the other judges valuable feedback about what the students have learned. What was the involvement of different team members, how the worked on the robot, on the strategy.

On the construction and software. Last but no least it could show you to a certain extend of course what was the involvement of the coach. For FLL to be fair coaches should not be involved in the process of building and programming the robot. I personally had the experience of disqualifying a team in Poland a few years ago. Where the coach had obviously done most of the programming and construction. And the students were just starting the robot. In the Robot design category the are at least two judges. For each team you have about 15 minutes. This means that from the moment the team enters Till' the moment next team enters - you have 15 minutes. FLL is a very complicated competition and if one team of judges is late this could potentially destroy the whole competition. So try to be sharp! 15 minutes for a team. From these 15 minutes you should have at least 3-4 minutes for discussion between the judges. After the evaluation of the team. Don't leave the discussion for the end of the day since you will forget most of the robots. This means that you have about 10-11 minutes to spend with each team. As the team enters tell them to leave the robot on the table. Write the name of the team on a piece of paper, put it next to the robot and take a picture of the robot. If it is possible do a full recording of the Robot and it's run. This would be very valuable at the end of the day when you want to revise your judging. And if there are any doughts about what are the given points. As the team enters - turn your sheet and write as many comments as possible and anything you consider important. Look at it this way. At the front of the sheet you are making official scores.

And use the back of the sheet to remember why have you given these scores. What is important about this team and how are you going to distinguish the team from the otheres. Here are some examples : Many parts,not precise, build by template,young team, six times to base. Great attachments on the front, gears,no documentation and comments, many missions and plans. These are examples from my personal comments you should ofcourse use comments that help you distinguish, remember and most importantly fairly judge the teams. As you are working with your team other judges might be working with other teams. At the Open European Championship 2012 in Manhaim 8 teams of judges each judging 8 FLL teams. In this case it is very difficult to say which one is the best team Since 8 team of judges have at least 8 different views. So at the end of the judging sessions make a meeting with the other judges. Take the best two or three teams from each session and go and see them directly at the Robot game.

This is a very good way to sync your judging with the other judges and to come up with a fair score at the Robot Design category. In one of the next videos I will go into more details about what is written on the judging sheet. And some tips and trick of using it, Find the link in the video below. You could also find all the tips, tricks and notes I have surmised for you from today again as a link below this video.